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It’s Not OK to Ban Little Boys from the Ladies’ Room

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Believe me, I really hate taking my twin 3-year-olds into public bathrooms. It was one of the things I feared most about getting them potty trained. Unfortunately though, when nature calls, you’ve got to answer, and little boys don’t have much time to spare.

That’s why I was appalled when I saw that an Oklahoma outlet mall had allegedly posted a sign banning little boys over 6-years-old from using the women’s bathroom. It read: “Please Boys over 6 year’s of age use Men’s restroom.” Aside from the fact that it looks like a haiku poem from fourth grade, I can’t figure out who thought this would be okay? Do they really think mothers are going to send their little boys off to the land of urinals and pee-splattered floors, without adult supervision? Apparently, I’m not the only one who found it to be kind of stupid because when a local mother posted the picture to the Oklahoma City Moms Blog Facebook page, it fired up a big debate on whether this policy is fair.

Personally, I think it’s dumb. There is no way I would send my little boys into any bathroom alone, for a variety of reasons. First of all, I want to make sure that they’re safe because, as much as we don’t like to think about it, sickos exist. Secondly, I want to make sure that my boys are being sanitary, and aren’t accidentally getting pee all over the place. Finally, I’m not sure my boys really want to go into a public restroom by themselves. Granted, my boys are a couple of years shy of this outlet mall’s age limits, but I imagine that many boys between the ages of 6 and 10 would prefer an adult with them.

The other thing I don’t understand is who this policy is protecting? Is it protecting our innocent boys? Is it protecting a woman’s privacy?  None of it makes sense because women’s bathroom stalls have doors! Men’s rooms have some big open, exposed trough-like urinal (not like I would know). A woman is usually hidden behind the stall door, blocked from the completely oblivious eyes of a non-pubescent boy. I don’t know about you, but the last time I saw a strange woman peeing with the stall door open, I was at a frat house, not a mall. If a sober, grown woman is peeing with the door open or washing her hands topless or doing a naked dance under the air dryers, then maybe she’s the one who needs to be banned from the bathrooms. Otherwise, your typical outlet mall shopper is probably following the rules of decorum.

So, yeah, if I lived in Oklahoma and came across that sign, I’d probably just ignore it and bring my little boys right in there with me. And if they kicked me out, well then, I’d just bust right into the men’s room with my little guys and assure all the guys in there that, yes, I’ve seen it all before. Either way, no printer-paper sign, warning of a stupid policy, would ever keep me from taking care of my boys.

 Photo: Getty